Jeremiah's School of Levitation

Upsy-Daisy!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

(Creak!)

(Tip toe-ing noise. Tip-toeing noise.)

Jeremiah, 11:45 PM | link | 9 Hit the roof |

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Library Enemy No. 1

As something of a trick question, I often ask people what they think the most important building in town is. The answers I get range from city hall, to the mall, to Starbucks, but rarely do I get the RIGHT answer, which is, the LIBRARY. To me, it's always the most beautiful, most prestigious, and most useful building in town. The vast collection of knowledge and inspiration there is akin to living inside the brains of a zillion people and, yes, is even more satisfying than the Web simply because I can put all that knowledge into my hands, creep off to a musty corner, hide myself in stacks of that knowledge, and do some serious, back-hunched, eye-squinted, paper-fume-inhaling reading.

In fact, I love the library so much that I try to stay out of it as much as possible. For two reasons. First, I no longer have the time to actually engage in the fantasy that I just spoke of a paragraph ago, so to go there makes me nostalgic for the time when I could really spend all day in there and not have to explain myself when I got home. Second, when I do go in, I can't help myself, and I check out enough books to fill my passenger seat, and then I promptly go home and keep them out for six months. Because, like I said, I don't have time to engage in the fantasy of reading a bunch of books, but that doesn't seem to stop me from THINKING I can. So, in effect, I end up keeping a bunch of books of which I can only read the first 20 pages of, and, six months later, I'm owing the library enough money to finance a librarian's vacation to Hawaii.

So, on my last trip, I finally put shackles on my fantasy and only checked out one book, then I sprinted from the library as if all the other books were chasing me, trying to pry my library card out of my pocket and check THEMSELVES out.

"Aha!," I said, to no one in particular. "I've finally beaten the affliction!" I got one book, I got out, and, I'll finish it and I'll return it in time. In a mere three weeks from now, I'll jog in slow motion to the return bin, slip the book in, and turn around and do a Rocky dance on the front porch. The librarians will all emerge from the shelves, still in slow motion, and they'll gather behind me and clap and nod as I Rocky-dance. Zoom in to my gleeful face, bouncing up and down. Freeze frame. Slow fade.

Yeah, right.

Yesterday, I get an email from the library. "You owe 26.75 on your recent checkout. Please return the book immediately to avoid being reported to collections." 26.75 (actually, only 14 bucks of that is the fine--the rest is a fee for losing the book, if that's what I did, which I didn't--I know I didn't lose it because I'm still reading it)! After three weeks, the late fee is something like 15 cents a day! Do the math! Then, tell me the answer because I'm too embarrassed to do the math myself!

That's a personal one-book record for me. I'm however, not proud of that. And, my wife is just baffled (to put it nicely) at my lack of library responsibility.

All this means, you say, is that I should just buy books. Well, I do that too. I have a whole shed full of used books that I'll read probably in the summer of 2020.

I think the remedy is to just stop reading. Just listen to podcasts, books on tape, and only read the hot link headlines on Cnn.com.

That way, I can stay out of collections, which will help assure that I don't get kicked out of that other important building in town--my house.
Jeremiah, 9:17 AM | link | 13 Hit the roof |

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Era of the Scary Songs

Okay, so maybe what I'll do is just publish my rambling thoughts so that I can get a blog going here. I am fairly embarrassed, turning maroon over here, at my output. The Big Giant Software Giant has given me more homework than I had in college. Also, I've been playing with music, composing some stuff that has reggae riddims and banjo. Coupled with family and exercise (I can't go to the gym until 10 pm, once everyone's asleep and I do the dishes), and trying to write my own stuff (I've gotten off on a tangent trying to write a sitcom about a woman who works in a fancy, but wacky health club--the working title is Fit to Be Tied), I am so dang busy that I'm letting my chair at the blog meetings get covered with cobwebs and those empty sunflower seed shells that Badoozie keeps tossing on it.

So, until I have something substantial to say, I'm just going to say something fragmented and goofed-out.

Like, 70's music...I love it, really. Lots and lots of great songs. I came of double-digit age in the seventies, and I have solid memories of me lying on the shag green carpeted floor of my bedroom, listening to my mother's clock radio. I used to unplug it and bring it into my room, as fast as I could so that she wouldn't lose TOO much time on the clock (this was one of those clocks where the numbers were on flaps that were held up by little latches, so you couldn't wind it backwards, so if it fell behind in time, you had to wind it forward 24 hours to get back to the correct time, which I hardly ever did, which means that, slowly, my mother began being late to everything by odd increments that were only a few seconds long).

Anyway, I'd bring it into my room, yeah, and plug it in and lay down in front of it, the shades drawn, and I'd tune to K98 and curl up with the tinny speaker to hear Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and Wings, Earth Wind & Fire, and all the other 70's biggies, and, little Jeremiah was in a little private heaven.

The biggest problem I had with 70's songs was that some of them were awful scary. Yes, scary. The 70's was the Era of the Scary Songs.

I mean, as a kid, I lost a lot of sleep thanks to the scary songs. You know what I'm talking about. "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," with bloodstains on the floor. And, "Tallahassee Bridge" with people jumping off and stuff.

And, how about that cheesy "Run Joey Run" song with that line: "Then Julie yelled, he's got a gun, and she stepped in front of me. Suddenly, a shot rang out, and I saw Julie falling."

And, Cher bellowing about "Gypsies Tramps and Thieves," which didn't say anything really scary, but had a scary feel and that line about men coming around to lay the money down always gave me a tic. Same with "Bless the Beasts and Children," but I think that scared me because it was in the movie of the same name where a kid got shot.

And, of course, the scariest, and most browbeating song I've ever heard: "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." I mean, so much for a light foot! That guy just about pummelled me with fright, over and over again:

"That good ship and crew was a bone to be chewed."

"At 7PM a main hatchway caved in. He said fellas it's been good to know ya."

"And later that night when his lights went out of sight came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

"Superior, they say, never gives up her dead, when the gales of November come early."

That's just a sampling of the horror! I know, I could have turned off the radio, but I was mesmerized by that song, and it felt like the "gales of November" were blowing right through my rib cage, so I dare not move lest I become a resident of the "ice water mansion"! AAAHHH! To this day, I get spooked/angry/annoyed when I hear that song.

I don't miss the era of the scary songs. I was an impressionable kid who believed in ghosts, ghouls, hars, haints, Bloodybone (that was a beast my uncle made up), bigfoots, werewolves...well, you get it. The scary songs didn't help, especially when I thought I was safe with the clock radio, as full of mom as it was.

But, in a way, I'd like to see someone do a scary song like those today, because what passes for scary now is gang-banging tunes about busting caps in heads which, in comparison, is much scarier since it is more likely you'll end up getting shot than ending up on a sinking barge in the Great Lakes. I suppose it was the menace of those 70's songs, but the unlikelyhood that you'll actually have that happen, that makes for pleasant nostalgia, but that, years from now, when I think of the sentiments of 50 Cent or Snoop Dog, I'll actually really be thankful I made it through these years unshot.
Jeremiah, 11:35 AM | link | 6 Hit the roof |